Melissa Roxas, the Fil-American activist who and two male companions were abducted by suspected military agents together with her two male companions, has returned to the Philippines to confront the perpetrators of this crime.
Leaving the relative safety and comfort of her home in the United States, she took a courageous step of retelling in detail the circumstances of her abduction and eventual release which has convinced Chairperson Leila de Lima of the Commission of Human Rights of the veracity of her testimony.
Her account indicates that she and her fellow-abductees were taken to a military camp, possibly to Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija. The military vehemently denies this.
By her decision to seek justice under Philippine jurisdiction, Roxas is hoping, together waith human rights advocates that the impunity with which hundreds of unarmed and innocent civilians have been killed and abducted under the Arroyo administration would be broken.
We share such hope, if only for the sake of the victims’ families who continue to search for their loved ones against all odds. Our optimism, though, is tempered by the realization that this impunity is continuing even after the release and return of Roxas with more of our countrymen falling victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced abduction.
Apparently, what is giving momentum to this killing and kidnapping of innocent civilians is a culture of impunity encouraged and protected by powerful figures in the Arroyo administration even in defiance of international condemnation as expressed in the Alston report and other international fact-finding reports.
This is shown by former Justice Secretary Gonzales who simply dismissed such well-documented reports as “baseless or biased” thus sending the signal to the perpetrators of these crimes to proceed with their criminal rampage with the air of “business as usual”. There had been some slackening in the commission of such crimes when public attention is at its highest, but it would again pick-up after a few months as if there is some quota of killings and abductions to be fulfilled.
This has led many concerned citizens to conclude that, contrary to Malacanang’s repeated protestations, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances is in fact State policy towards its critics, especially towards those with the slightest suspicion of being associated with leftist organizations.
Proof of this official position of the Arroyo administration towards its critics is amply provided in detail in the AFP’s Oplan Bantay-Laya I & II where even media practitioners and members of people’s organization have ended up in the AFP’s hit list, after they are subjected to a continuous campaign of hate and vilification by the military’s psy-ops experts.
This fact is well-known to Melissa Roxas and her fellow Bayan members. That she has returned to confront her abductors and torturers and the people in high places eventually responsible for these dastardly crimes speaks well of her courage and conviction.
Indeed, her defiant stance against political repression will go a long way in helping break the culture of death, deception and corruption that has pervaded this land since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took over Malacanang. # nordis.net